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Anheuser-Busch shakes up on-the-go mobile purchases via Ibotta partnership

Anheuser-Busch is targeting millennial consumers by partnering with mobile shopping application Ibotta to offer users aged 21 or over special offers for purchasing beer at convenience, liquor and grocery stores, as well as select bars and restaurants.

The alcohol brand has entered into a preferred partnership with the cash-back rebate platform that will last through February 2018, giving Anheuser-Busch ample time to inspire purchases among long-time fans and work toward gaining new customers. Ibotta app users can now receive up to $5 cash back on a slew of Anheuser-Busch brands, including Stella Artois, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, an incentive that could easily prompt more individuals to buy beer on mobile devices.

“Ibotta is the market leader in mobile consumer promotions and the pioneer for delivering alcohol rebates to consumers – especially mobile-savvy millennial shoppers,” said Rich Donahue, senior vice president of marketing at Ibotta. “For consumers who are interested in discovering new products or getting cash back wherever they shop, on whatever they buy, Ibotta is the best solution.

“The preferred partnership with Anheuser-Busch is the best way on mobile to drive consumers’ awareness and purchase of their great brands, from iconic brands like Bud Light, to newer brands like Goose Island IPA or Shock Top.”

Targeting deal seekers
Anheuser-Busch is well-poised to gain a slew of new millennial fans with this partnership. A 2015 Nielsen study revealed that while millennials are reluctant to compromise quality or taste when purchasing alcoholic drinks, consumers belonging to this sought-after demographic are likely to download available coupons or discounts from their mobile apps.

Consequently, their loyalty can be bolstered with a steady flow of mobile coupons – a tactic that could also potentially sway which brands they purchase.

More than 14 million Ibotta app users will now be able to receive Anheuser-Busch rebates at any time, giving consumers an ideal combination of additional cash back and access to top beer brands.

To unlock the rebates, individuals must download the Ibotta app, register and type in the name of any Anheuser-Busch brand. If a user types in “Budweiser,” for example, the app will display the available cash-back opportunities.

Current options include a $4 rebate for anyone who buys two eight-packs or larger of sixteen-ounce Budweiser bottles, and a $3 rebate for the purchase of an eighteen-pack or larger of twelve-ounce bottles or cans.

Once consumers choose the desired rebate, the Ibotta app will showcase a list of participating supermarkets and stores at which the beer can be purchased. After a grocery store is selected, users may unlock the rebate by answering several survey questions.

The purchase must then be verified by scanning the product bar code, or snapping a photo of the receipt.

Consumers may indicate through which format they would prefer to receive their rebates: a digital payment platform such as Venmo and PayPal, or a merchant gift card.

“Ibotta allows the redemption of cash-back rebates at any convenience store, including marquee outlets like 7-Eleven, Circle K, and others,” Mr. Donahue said. “The goal of having cash-back rebates for on-the-go purchases is to help Anheuser-Busch grow its share in these outlets and influence consumers to purchase more frequently at these on-the-go locations.”

Enhancing consumer experiences
Anheuser-Busch is likely to successfully reach a mobile-savvy, millennial audience with this partnership, as younger consumers typically respond well to smartphone offers with strong gamification or interactive components.

The alcohol marketer has feverishly ramped up its millennial-targeted advertising efforts in the past year, a strategy that has so far been paying off.

A Mobile Marketer analysis of Budweiser’s mobile strategy over several years showed the brewer to be a consistent leader, excelling at targeting and engaging millennials, the demographic that represents its best opportunity in the years ahead (see story).

Ibotta may also experience an uptick in app usage following the new collaboration. In-store shoppers debating which brand of beer to purchase could be persuaded to buy Budweiser products if they open the Ibotta app and spot the available rebates.

“Ibotta is looking to drive consumer engagement with our brand and retail partners, not a transactional relationship,” Mr. Donahue said. “The gamification is important to creating a fun, engaging experience for consumers and brands that create a lasting impact that drives loyalty.

“Plus, as we change the consumers’ path to purchase and make our experience more unique and game-like, our consumers will spend more time with Ibotta and more time engaging with our brand partners.”